Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Keeping in Contact

I went east this past weekend to visit friends and family, and it's amazing how I lost time. I didn't write, exercise, or practice music as much as I would have liked, and was mostly in a jet-lagged daze the whole time. Even though I gave all my time to others this weekend, I didn't get to see everyone I wanted, or for the amount of time I would have liked. It was really nice to have the moments that I did have, though. 

This is the sort of situation that I have trouble balancing - spending time with loved ones or spending time alone with my creative pursuits. It doesn't have to be an either/or, but with all those other small details that demand time in our lives, sometimes it becomes difficult to keep a balance of having both growing equally and consistently. 

Dedication to keeping in contact with the people in our lives can be a full time job. There's family - I don't have a huge family, but it doesn't keep me from not being consistent with keeping in touch with them and I can't imagine if my family was really large - current friends, long lost friends, acquaintances, networking contacts, co-workers, doctors, and all of those other people that leave messages on our voicemail that we hope to call back but don't always get to right away. 

We have Facebook and other social media outlets, where you can stay in contact with people on a completely different scale and spectrum but they don't really solve the problem, in my opinion. One way to let a whole lot of people know at once what's going on with you without having to speak to them directly is to update your status. Perhaps that's better than nothing at all, but to me that's impersonal and not a meaningful connection to those people in our lives. A status update takes another minute or two out of my day, and I still need to call all of the people I had to call, before I let the internet community know where I was deciding to eat my dinner. 

Sending messages to friends and loved ones online is a step in the right direction, so I won't trash all of what the social media outlets offer. I'll send messages when I think of a person that I really would love to speak to that I haven't in awhile, or if I have something to share with them - but I'm not the sort of person who signs on every day to see whose birthday it is so I can send them a Happy Birthday message, or to see what a person changed their status update to so I can comment. If you are a loved one, I will do my best to text you on your birthday, and I will do my best to keep up with your life, but it's only a few days each month that I sign into my account and I'd rather just talk to you in person the next chance we get. Of course, it takes me awhile to call people back and even when I do, the process starts all over again for the next time we communicate. 

Perhaps then it's natural that I see power in those relationships that can sustain not communicating for awhile and still hold strong the next time we speak. Things get crazy and life gets busy - when I really need to speak to a person I usually do. There are a ton of people I think about daily and wonder how they are, but I also am working on prioritizing my mental presence in my physical world so I don't always get to the place where I can ask them. 

I know that not all people feel this way. That's been the problem, I think. Some people will not hear from me and assume that I don't care for them and they will lose interest in contacting me as a result. Some people need constant communication in order to feel like there is something there. But I think love and bonds of friendship are stronger than that. And just because I'm not calling doesn't mean I don't care and don't think about you. 

I have sustained a number of friendships without much communication. And in many ways, the ability for our friendship to maintain despite this is what tells me that I am lucky to have that person in my life. To think that they are completely dedicated to their life and finding their happiness, just as I am mine, even if it means that our lives are no longer as close physically, makes me feel tightly connected to them. Real love and friendship depends on autonomy.

I could still do better with my communication, though, and I will continue to work towards it. Today though, I need to reconnect with my personal, creative time. 

It's lovely out today - I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

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